Istanbul is one of the most visited places in Turkey. It is a place that straddles between Europe and Asia. It is such a great place to experience the best of the both continents! There are lots of great architectural work that will amaze you and wants you to learn more about their culture, art, tradition and history. It was autumn of last year when I visited the place, I can still recall how fascinating Istanbul was!
Listed down are some of the beautiful places I have visited and some foods and drinks I have tried:
Blue Mosque is located in Sultahnahmet. It is one of the few mosques with 6 minarets in the world. It is still a place for prayer so someone needs to cover up / dress appropriately when visiting the mosque. Women should wear headscarves. The mosque is made of blue tiles which is quite unique.
Basilica Cistern located in Sultahnahmet too. It is an underground chamber built to provide water to the city in the old time. It is one of my favorite sightseeing places in Istanbul for its great architectural work in 6th century. Once you see the place, you will be amazed on how brilliant the people who have thought of building this. It is something that will take your breath away.
Taksim Square is a place located on the European side of Istanbul. There are lots of bars, restaurants on this area that drives tourist to flock the area. It is such a busy place from morning till late in the evening. We chose to stay on this area due to its accessibility to different tourist spots.
Topkapi Palace is the home of the Ottoman. Seeing the different pavilions, jewel filled treasury will give you a glimpse of how the sultans lived their lives from before. Such a very interesting place! It is said to be the oldest and largest palace in the world to survive in our day. Sad to say picture taking was strictly prohibited inside the pavilions. “It is for your eyes only”
Pierri Loti Café is located in Eyup on the hill top that gives a great view of Istanbul. The place was said to be named after a French naval officer with the pen name Pierri Loti who goes to this place to contemplate and write. A lot of tourists and locals go to this area to relax and just enjoy the view. Best to have a tea or coffee!
Spice Bazaar is one of the largest bazaars in the city and located in Eminonu .If you love spices, herbs, dried nuts and fruits never leave the place without trying these! love tea so I bought my apple tea in here!
Bosphorus Cruise –Bosphorus strait is the natural waterway dividing Europe and Asia! It is what separates the European part of Turkey to Asian part. I have tried the night cruising along the Bosphorus River. Buffet dinner and drinks were served with Turkish entertainment on board. Something new to try.
Raki is like the national alcoholic drink in Turkey which is unsweetened, anise flavored drink that is 40% in alcoholic content .Someone should be careful in drinking Raki or else you will be knocked down! It is traditionally drink with water and ice. It is said, it is best paired with a fish meal. I am not a big fan of anise but it was ok to try it though.
Sahlep is a hot milky drink famous during winter season. It is made from the tubers of the orchid genius Orchis found in the south of Turkey as well as Black Sea provinces. I personally like the taste where it is creamy especially with ground cinnamon and pistachio on the top.
Simit is a round bread crusted with sesame seeds which is the usual breakfast for the Turkish people. Simit is available almost everywhere on the streets. It is generally served plain, paired with tea, fruit preserves or cheese.
Ortakoy is a famous place in Istanbul for Kumpir. Kumpir is a potato with lots of variety of toppings to choose from. The street is very well known as Kumpir Sokak which means Baked Potato Street. The place is very famous for tourists and locals.
Galata Tower is a cylindrical medieval stone tower located in Galata/Karakoy that provides a 360 panoramic view of Istanbul. The tower was the tallest building in Istanbul around 66.9m when it was built in 1348. Pretty impressive! There is an admission fee of 11Turkish Lira (7 USD) to go up of the tower but it’s all worth it. Be warned that the queues can be long and the balcony can be crowded so patience is a must!
Kokorec is a famous delicacy made of lamb or goat intestines. It is considered a street food. It is usually served as sandwich but could be served without bread, just on a plate as a normal meal. It is best with Ayran (yogurt drink popular in Turkey with salt), beer or any soft drinks.
Sac Tava means convex pan. It is a traditional Turkish food that can be beef, lamb or chicken served in a sizzling plate with some sauce on it. It is usually served with bread that is very thin like tortilla wrap.
Dondurma , ice cream in Turkish. It is made up of sugar, milk, and salep. It is tough and sticky. Of all the dondurma I have tried, the best was the one we bought in Mado! Never ever leave Turkey without trying this. It is really irresistible!
Sultanahmet Area is the oldest part of Istanbul. Majority of Istanbul’s historical prides are located on this area such as Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and Hippodrome.
Turkish Bath (Hammam) is a major part of the Turkish culture, for cleansing and for relaxation. Males are separated from the females. First you will be given a towel to wrap yourself then lay down on a flat elevated marble area, then the attendant will start to wash, massage and scrub you. A hand woven wash cloth is used during the scrubbing. Then you will go to a hot room for cooling down and lastly take a cold shower assisted by the attendants. At the end of the bath, a Turkish tea will be served. Truly such a different experience!
Istanbul Turkey is indeed a world center for great value in the past as well as in the present. It is a place where extraordinary cultural experience lies in every corner. Really a “Must-See and a Must-Try” if given a chance to. Take a trip to Turkey with Agoda.
What is your dream destination in Turkey? Share on the comments below.